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6 Tips for Building Your Savings When You're on a Tight Budget

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Julie O'Bryan  |  10-02-17 | 5:02pm

Having money tucked away is not only good for a rainy day, but can also be a life saver in an emergency. However, when your budget is already tight, building up your savings may seem like a daunting task that’s pretty much impossible. Here are six tips to start off your journey to better savings:

1. Start Small

Setting aside $1,000 to $2,000 will make for a good base to your savings. In a pinch, that much can fix your car or the AC, or pay for your doctor visit. Transferring a small amount every week or every paycheck can build your starter funds in a few months and that money will be stashed away before you know it.

2. Stay Positive

It might be difficult to always be positive about your budget, but telling yourself you can’t do it just gives yourself an excuse not to. Set attainable goals for yourself; the achievement of those goals will a reward in and of itself.

3. Sell Unwanted Items

Instead of letting unworn clothes pile up in the closet or old furniture rot on the back porch, sell or consign them. If you have a house full of unwanted things, host a yard sale. Items still in good condition can sometimes still fetch a nice little chunk of change. After all, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

4. Don’t Eat Out So Much

Cutting down on eating out can save you hundreds of dollars each year, hundreds of dollars that are better spent elsewhere. Let’s say you eat out three times a week, setting a goal of eating out only once a week can get you on the right track to building your savings. This also includes lunch. Packing your lunch for work can give you the opportunity to not only have a healthier budget, but a healthier lifestyle, too, depending on what you pack.

5. Cut Down Unnecessary Bills

Remembering to turn off the lights when you leave a room or the faucet while brushing your teeth can save electricity and water, and therefore save you money. There are also plenty of people who have entirely cut cable out of their budget. Even if you’re not entirely ready to cut the cord on that one, removing costly premium channels from your plan can at least decrease your monthly bill. Those movies you’ve been renting can also add up pretty quickly when they’re five plus dollars each.

6. Break Expensive Habits

Whether it’s smoking too much, drinking Starbucks every day, or compulsively buying new nail polish, most of us have habits that cost us money. Breaking these habits, though not always easy, can save you a ton of money in the long run. If you get a four dollar Starbucks drink five times a week, that’s $20, compared to the $10 you might spend on coffee grounds at the grocery store, which will last at least a handful of weeks. Even if you throw cream and sugar into your cart, that’s still quite a bit of money that can be put into your savings account at the end of every week.

No one said saving would be easy. It may be very challenging for you, but knowing you have a couple thousand dollars set aside in case of emergencies will help you breathe a little easier. Not every emergency has to be life altering.

Building your savings, however, does take a certain amount of dedication. You have to have the strength to find your budget weaknesses and turn them around. If you’re constantly telling yourself you can’t do it or that you don’t make enough money to save, then they will only turn into self-fulfilling prophecies.

You can do it! We believe in you! If you have any budgeting success stories, let us know. We’re always open to new ideas.


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